With the Lord Ayyappa shrine opening for a day on Monday, the temple town of Sabarimala has been virtually taken over by some 2,300 Kerala Police personnel after protests marred the last pilgrimage season. The pilgrims will be allowed to go up the pathway only on Monday afternoon, an official said. The temple opens its door at 5 pm and closes on Tuesday at 10 pm.
Orders banning assembly of four or more people have been imposed in Sabarimala and nearby areas, police said Sunday.
Around 2,300 personnel, including a 20-member commando team and 100 women, have been deployed to ensure smooth 'darshan' and security of devotees, a move that came in for criticism from the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam, the BJP and the Congress for such fortification.
If necessary, around 30 women police personnel in the rank of circle inspector and sub inspector and above the age of 50 would be deployed at 'Sannidhanam' (temple complex) for security, they said.
Ayyappa devotees from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have already reached Erumeli and they will be permitted to go to 'sannidhanam' only on Monday. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPc, banning assembly of four or more people, is in force at Pamba, Nilackal, Elavungal, and Sannidhanam for 72 hours from midnight Saturday.
This is the second time the hill temple would open for 'darshan' after the Supreme Court allowed entry of women...